Transfer speculation increases after matchday exclusions

The transfer speculation has been rife for Aston Villa this summer with the club linked to many players over the break.

The club identified a goalkeeper and attacking players as a priority in the close season with players seemingly identified by the club management. Ollie Watkins and Matty Cash were both signed from the Championship and now it appears more will be coming from the league below as the latest matchday squads have been revealed.

AFC Bournemouth’s Josh King is one player who has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League with the links to Villa Park increasing in the last week. The Norwegian has been left out of the matchday squad in Jason Tindall’s first game in management against Blackburn Rovers, while he didn’t feature in pre-season.

The forward contract will expire in the summer and Bournemouth will want to cash in and avoid another Ryan Fraser situation. A figure of around £15million seems reasonable for a player who remained a danger in the south coast’s club disappointing season. The former Blackburn and Manchester United player will be a good addition to the squad as he can play on the right and left of the wings, up front and as a second striker.

The other attacking option that has been left out of the matchday squad is Said Benrahma. The Algerian has been constantly linked to Aston Villa, among many other Premier League teams, with his exclusion put down to a minor injury.

The winger will look to reunite with Watkins and create a frightening partnership that saw the London club make it to the Championship play-offs last year, only to lose out to Fulham at Wembley.

Today’s omission has left many Brentford fans preparing their goodbyes for the 25-year-old with the transfer likely to be agreed this week. The club is holding out for a bid upward of £30million and Villa will assess whether they have the funds.

One last exclusion from today’s squad is Emiliano Martinez. The Arsenal ‘keeper was left out of Arsenal squad by Mikel Arteta after it appeared that the Spanish manager has chosen Bernd Leno for the start of the season.

The Argentine shot-stopper has been with Arsenal since 2012 but never had a first-team starting role until Leno’s injury at Brighton. He impressed many with his run of form and fans largely paid Arsenal’s resurgence and FA Cup run to the ‘keeper’s form during Project Restart.

According to the Independent, a fee has been agreed and Martinez is at Bodymoor Heath currently undergoing a medical and discussing personal terms. He will demand to be number one, a big factor in his decision to leave North London.

It will now be a matter of time whether the three players excluded from today’s squad will be featuring in the claret and blue ready for Sheffield United next week.